Biden tells critics ‘challenge me at the convention’ after warning Democrats that talk of replacing him helps Trump – live | US elections 2024

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Biden tells detractors: ‘Challenge me at the convention’

As the interview continued, Joe Biden signaled irritation with the “elites” who he said were unjustifiably calling for him to quit.

“I’m getting so frustrated by the elites, I’m not talking about you guys, but about the elite in the party, who … know so much more,” Biden said. He again stumbled over his words for a bit, but the message was clear: those who say he should step down should “challenge me at the convention”, the president said.


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Key events

Despite the best efforts of the press corps, Karine Jean-Pierre is not elaborating further on the identity of Joe Biden’s neurologist.

“He’s seen a neurologist three times, and that is connected to the physical, the comprehensive physical that we have been able to share with you,” the press secretary said.

She again said she could not share the name of the neurologist, citing “security reasons” associated with the fact that thousands of military personnel received care from the White House medical unit.

“The moment I say anything about any specialist, it becomes a thing from this podium,” Jean-Pierre said.

She was also asked if Biden used notes this morning, when he called in to MSNBC program “Morning Joe”. Jean-Pierre replied that he did not rely on any script, but did refer to “quotes” from his debate against Donald Trump.

“The president spoke from his heart. The president was very clear. There was no script at all, and he was very detailed. You heard him say, actually during the call, that he was reading some quotes. He said it. He shared that information. He was reading some quotes from the debate, so he shared that with you,” the secretary said.


The White House press briefing has grown testy, as reporters press Karine Jean-Pierre for details of Joe Biden’s interactions with doctors, particularly since his debate performance.

“He did do, like a verbal check in with his doctor a couple days after the debate, and it was very quick. It was a couple of words that were spoken to each other, and that’s how we were able to give you that answer. But he did not have a medical exam. He did not have the physical,” Jean-Pierre said.

Then a reporter pressed for confirmation of reports that a specialist in Parkinson’s disease had visited Biden. Jean-Pierre replied that Biden receives a medical exam yearly, and, “every year that he has had this exam, he sees a neurologist.” Jean-Pierre noted that the most recent exam, in February, showed no signs of any cognitive decline or disease.

The press secretary refused to say more about his exam, or name the neurologist, prompting complaints from the press corps.


There sure are a lot of House Democrats who are choosing their words carefully today.

In an interview with CNN, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who chaired the Democratic National Committee for much of the Obama years and in the run-up to the 2016 election, was asked if she thought Joe Biden was the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump.

She did not exactly say yes. Watch the answer here:

CNN’s Jessica Dean: “Do you think Joe Biden is the only one that can beat Donald Trump?”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “I think Joe Biden will beat Donald Trump. He has beaten Donald Trump before, and Donald Trump is an existential threat to whom the antidote is Joe Biden.”

— The Recount (@therecount) July 8, 2024


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Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

The White House has announced that during the NATO summit in Washington, DC, later this week, Joe Biden will have a bilateral meeting with the new British prime minister, Keir Starmer, who was elected in a landslide last week in the July 4 UK election.

The US president and the UK premier will meet on Wednesday.

Then on Thursday, Biden will host an event with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Ukraine is not a member of the Nato alliance but would like to be.

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer holds first press conference
06/07/2024, at 10 Downing Street.
Photograph: Simon Dawson/No 10 Downing Street
Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

The White House media briefing is about to begin in the west wing.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has arrived at the podium amid perhaps more than the usual buzz from the gathered journalists.

She said: “It’s going to be a great week!” So there’s optimism for you….nothing to see here.

National security spokesperson John Kirby has taken to the podium to talk about the NATO summit in Washington, DC this week, after some preliminary announcements from Jean-Pierre, where she emphasized how much Joe Biden has been out and about meeting voters and lawmakers in recent days.


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Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Democrats are rolling out advertisements on dozens of Milwaukee buses before the Republican convention there next week, with most featuring images of Joe Biden from a popular online meme [Dark Brandon]– even as he tries to salvage his re-election bid.

More than 50 buses will carry the ads through the convention that runs from July 15-18, the Democratic National Committee said and Reuters reports.

Donald Trump is due to be officially named at the convention as the Republican Party’s nominee in the November 5 presidential election.

It is not unusual for a political party to launch such an ad campaign around a rival convention, but the Democrats’ messaging comes amid calls for Biden to step aside after a shaky debate outing that has prompted questions about his mental fitness.

Biden beat Trump in the left-leaning city of Milwaukee by a landslide margin of nearly 60 percentage points in 2020, but carried the larger state of Wisconsin by fewer than 21,000 votes out of 3.2m cast. Wisconsin is expected to be a pivotal battleground state in the election this year.

Just in:
DNC rolling out new advertising on Milwaukee buses as Republicans arrive for their national convention next week. DNC says it wants to make sure “…voters in every corner of Milwaukee know President Biden is fighting for them…”

— Charles Benson (@CharlesBenson4) July 8, 2024


The day so far

Joe Biden has gone on the offense against calls from some corners of the Democratic party for him to step aside after he struggled against Donald Trump in the first presidential debate late last month. He sent a letter to lawmakers, in which he warned that talk of replacing him “hurts” Democrats, then called in to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to insist “I am not going anywhere” and that his detractors should “challenge me at the convention”. The president today received new assurances of support from some members of Congress, including the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, though one swing district Democrat said the president must do more to prove he can beat Trump.

Here’s what else has happened today so far:

  • Biden scoffed at Democratic “elites” who were skeptical of his candidacy. Here is what two of such elites said in response.

  • Ritchie Torres, a Democratic congressman, warned Democrats against “self destructive” infighting over Biden’s future.

  • Mark Warner, a Democratic senator, reportedly cancelled a meeting of lawmakers intended to discuss the prospects of Biden’s campaign.


While the president has been busy fending off those who say it’s time for him to step aside, his campaign has focused on reminding the press about Donald Trump’s ties to Project 2025, a rightwing plan to remaking the US government.

Last week, Trump said he knows “nothing” about the plan, which, among many other things, calls for banning abortion medication, installing Trump loyalists in the civil service and ending the justice department’s traditional independence.

In a statement today, the Biden-Harris campaign says Trump “knows just how unpopular his second term agenda is with the majority of Americans,” and argues the president is lying about not being affiliated with the project. Here’s campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa:

Project 2025 was written for Donald Trump by the people who know him best. These are the same extremists writing the RNC’s policy platform, leading Trump’s debate prep, and regularly touting their connections to Trump’s team. Oh, and Trump’s own SuperPAC has run ads promoting Project 2025.

Trump’s Supreme Court and Project 2025 have designed the playbook for Trump to serve as a dictator on day one with unchecked imperial power to rip away freedoms and raise costs for working families so billionaires get richer. This November, voters must stop Trump from turning the Oval Office into his throne room.

It’s not just Joe Biden’s allies who are doubtful of Trump’s insistence he is not involved in Project 2025:


Michigan governor and Democratic rising star Gretchen Whitmer says no interest in running for president

The possibility, however remote or near, that Joe Biden will call off his re-election campaign has caused many Democrats to speculate over who could replace him.

One of the names that has come up often is Gretchen Whitmer, governor of must-win state Michigan. She is considered a promising talent among Democrats nationwide, but the Associated Press reports that she ruled out seeking the party’s nomination, should Biden step aside.

“It’s a distraction more than anything,” she said. “I don’t like seeing my name in articles like that because I’m totally focused on governing and campaigning for the ticket.”

The governor is launching a book today. Here’s more on that, from the AP:

In the book, Whitmer recounts events that unfolded on the national stage throughout her career, including a clash with Donald Trump and a kidnapping plot targeting her and her family.

Though Whitmer may not welcome the attention, her swift ascent over two decades — from a law school graduate to Michigan’s governor — has established her as a prominent figure within the Democratic Party.

Her status was solidified in 2022 with a decisive reelection and her party’s success in flipping both chambers of the state legislature, granting Democrats full control for the first time in nearly four decades.

“I’ve spent the first quarter of this century watching as the arc of our politics has bent uncomfortably toward incivility and strife,” Whitmer says in the first pages of her book, then adding: “That’s why I decided to write this book: to put a little light out there in a damn dark time.”


Another House Democrat has weighed in on Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, with a less positive take.

Greg Landsman represents a slightly Democratic-leaning district centered on Cincinnati and its suburbs, and won his seat in 2022 after beating long-serving Republican Steve Chabot.

In a statement, Landsman implied that Biden must prove he can beat Donald Trump, whose defeat is essential.

“Trump is unfit to be President. He is an extremist and chaos machine who tried to overturn an election, which alone is disqualifying, stripped away reproductive freedom from tens of millions of women and girls, and wasted trillions of our dollars on tax cuts for billionaires and giveaways to huge corporations at the expense of working people. Trump was also found liable for rape and convicted on 34 separate felony counts,” Landsman said.

He continued:

We need to strengthen our democracy, restore reproductive freedom, and build a tax code and economy around and for working people. And we need to do it with character and integrity, pragmatism, reliability, and bipartisanship.

These are the stakes of this election. They couldn’t be higher. President Biden has to be able to make this case clearly to the American people, again and again and again. Now’s the time for action, but time is running out.


Congressional Black Caucus chair Horsford says he still supports Biden

Democratic congressman Steven Horsford, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, has restated his support for Joe Biden as the president faces pressure to call off his bid for re-election.

In addition to leading the group of African-American lawmakers, Horsford also represents a district in Nevada, a swing state that Biden hopes to win in November. Here’s what he had to say:

Black voters are an integral part of the Democratic coalition, and Biden has dedicated much of his time since the debate to appealing to the group, including with a visit to a predominantly African-American church in Philadelphia yesterday. Here’s more on that:


During his interview with MSNBC, “Morning Joe” co-anchor Mika Brzezinski read to Joe Biden a list of people and media outlets that have said it would be better if the president stepped aside.

When Biden heard her say David Axelrod, a prominent former advisor to his one-time boss Barack Obama, he sarcastically exclaimed, “Oh! You’re kidding!”

Axelrod has indeed been among Biden’s doubters, and earlier today, he pondered why the Trump campaign appeared to be holding back with attacking the president over his debate performance:

Trump’s not talking much about Biden’s bad debate. Trump’s campaign is not blitzing ads about it. And Lara Trump said last week it would be an affront to democracy if Biden were not the nominee.
Question: Why do you think they are uncharacteristically holding fire?

— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) July 8, 2024

Axelrod appears to be implying that the Trump campaign does not want Biden to suspend his campaign, as they think he will be easier to beat.


Let’s check in on some of those “elites” that Joe Biden railed against in his interview on MSNBC this morning.

The president was likely referring to people like Jon Favreau, a former top speechwriter for Barack Obama who has been critical of Biden remaining in the race. Here were his thoughts on Biden’s comments this morning:

Biden on Morning Joe:

Energy is great! Sounds strong! Love that part.

Message absolutely sucks – angry, defensive, lashing out at all the wrong people.

Just please, please talk about voter concerns, how you’ll address them, and how Trump will make them worse. That’s all!

— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 8, 2024

And here, Favreau seems to be responding directly to Biden’s comments about only the Democratic “elites” wanting him to go:

Replace Biden as nominee:

64% all voters
55% Black voters
66% Hispanic voters
48% Biden (!) voters

Biden is too old to be an effective president:

69% all voters
62% Black voters
68% Hispanic voters
55% Biden voters

This is from the NYT PRE-debate poll, Trump 48-Biden 42,…

— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 8, 2024


Democratic senator cancels meeting to discuss Biden exit – report

Mark Warner, the Democratic senator from Virginia, has called off his meeting planned for today in which lawmakers were to discuss whether Joe Biden should continue campaigning for re-election, Axios reports.

Details of the meeting leaked out last week, making it impossible for the sensitive discussion to take place, according to Axios, which notes that Senate Democrats have a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Biden has seen fewer detractors emerge in the Senate than in the House, and over the weekend, Bernie Sanders, an independent senator who caucuses with the Democrats, signaled support for Biden, while calling on him to double down on progressive economic policies.


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